Sisters (UK - BD RB)
Marcus goes technical with a 1973 De Palma flick featuring a crazy Lois Lane
Danielle (Margot Kidder) meets Phillip (Lisle Wilson) on a TV show and after she invites him to a club the pair end up back at her place. The following morning Phillip is killed and newspaper reporter Grace Collier (Jennifer Salt) watches from her apartment. With the body hidden and the police unconvinced of Grace’s claims, Grace vows to do whatever it takes to find the body and the story behind the girl whose apartment he was killed in.
The presentation here is pretty much a case of watching the film through a thick haze of grain however this doesn't prevent the image's great use of colour and wonderfully sharp edges from shining through luckily. Black levels are also good and while the whole affair looks much like a 70s TV show ala Mission Impossible or something, there is an obviously HD overhaul to see here that gives the film a lift in all the right places.
Skin tones are all perfectly natural, small details in things such as freckles, clothing textures and set dressing all look pretty great given the right lighting and speaking of lighting, there’s a fine glow to the well lit scenes at all times. The Sisters Blu-ray has its show off moments, in fact its sharp edges and natural look can really shine but the overbearing grain here makes it a hard disc to truly be happy with, even though it’s largely unavoidable and very much a part of the film’s look.. I’ve no doubt this presentation is the best the film is probably ever going to look and the HD boosts really are noticeable at all times but that grain can really kill the mood at times.
The in your face elements of the score are strong but rather shrill in the all-out attack of mood setting. The almost 50s sci-ci sounding soundtrack is used to make the audience feel uneasy and it works extremely well but when the score takes a back seat the track still manages to provide a layered and strong audio presentation, even with the mono limitations.
Dialogue is always crisp and doesn’t suffer from the shrillness the peaks of the soundtrack can often battle with. There’s the odd scene that provides a bit of ambience, such as crowds or traffic or general chatter and it all widens the track well. Of course De Palma aims to scare so his more aggressive elements of score, that are usually accompanied by an odd visual or two turn up the power of the track and while they are generally great they often slip into uncomfortable hissy or again shrill pitches and it sometimes lets the track down.
‘What the Devil Hath Joined Together: A Visual Essay’ (47:02 HD) focuses in on the film and likens the Hitchcockian spin to Rear Window as well as many other Hitchcock films and delves into great detail about Sisters, its themes and the film's production. This is a great extra and works as an almost mini visual commentary of sorts that is very easy to watch.
Theres a range of 'Cast and Crew Interviews’ which include Jennifer Salt, Louisa Rose, Paul Hirsch, Jeffery Hayes and William Finlay. These all range from six to eleven minutes.
‘The De Palma Digest’ (31:03 HD) looks over De Palma's career and gives a frank and open account of the director's work and notoriety. This is fantastic and more long term directors need this sort of treatment on extra features.
Last up is the trailer and a poster gallery.
Sisters isn’t the easiest film to like, largely due to its tone that jumps around a fair bit and the length of time it takes to play with the audience, even when the audience have probably worked out what’s actually going on anyway. That said, it’s still delightfully odd and the Hitchcock set up works pretty well for it.
The disc looks great even with the thick layer of grain and the audio track is okay. The extras are more of a draw as once again Arrow opt to increase our knowledge of the film itself as well as broadening our knowledge of the director and his other work with some cracking documentaries.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 28th April 2014
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: LPCM 1.0 Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
Extras: Documentaries, Interviews, Trailer, Photo Gallery
Easter Egg: No
Director: Brian De Palma
Cast: Margot Kidder, Jennifer Salt, Charles Durning
Genre: Drama and Horror
Length: 92 minutes
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